Ex Auckland. An exciting round trip itinerary for travel in a campervan, RV or holiday home. You’ll experience plenty of Culture, Coast & Kauri.
Auckland to Waipu: beaches, walks & galleries
Driving time: 1 ¼ hrs to Mangawhai. Further ½ hour to Waipu
Driving directions: Follow State Highway 1 north from Auckland. Turn right past Te Hana and follow the Twin Coast Discovery Highway through Mangawhai, Langs Beach and Waipu Cove and the historic village of Waipu. This road borders the white-sand beaches of the Pacific coastline.
To do Mangawhai:
Mangawhai and Mangawhai Heads have plenty of funky cafes, craft shops and galleries. Plus there are markets on Saturday morning in Mangawhai and in Mangawhai Heads on Sunday morning
Mangawhai Heads is a surf beach while the estuary on the other side is perfect for little children
Several scenic walks in the area
Waipu Cove and Langs beach are stunning white sand beaches
A visit to the Waipu Museum is a must
Waipu to Tutukaka via Whangarei: shopping, marine & nature reserve
Driving time: ½ hr to Whangarei. Further ½ hr to Tutukaka
Driving directions: Continue north to Whangarei. From Whangarei follow the signs to Tutukaka on the east coast.
To do Whangarei:
Check out the Whangarei Town Basin with its yachts, café’s, galleries, including the famous Burning Issues Gallery and New Zealand’s National Clock Museum
Kiwi North – live kiwis and museum
Walk the Hatea River from the Town Basin to Whangarei Falls via AH Reed Kauri Park – 3 hrs return.
To do Tutukaka:
Boat trip or dive trip to the Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve from Tutukaka. The 11 million year old Islands’ volcanic origins provide spectacular drop offs, walls, caves, arches and tunnels. The marine life is prolific.
Tutukaka to Bay Islands: aquatic paradise, Maori culture
Driving time: 1.5 hours
Driving directions: Follow the winding road past Matapouri and Whale Bay back to State Highway 1 and drive north to the Bay of Islands
On the Way:
Waro Scenic Reserve at Hikurangi – walk around spectacular limestone rock formations
Kawiti Glow Worm Caves at Waiomio just before Kawakawa.
Detour to Kawakawa to see the Hundertwasser toilets designed and built by the Austrian architect and artist who made his home in a nearby valley.
To do Bay of Islands:
Hole in the Rock cruises, sailing, fishing, dolphin swimming and many other water based activities
Take a guided tour, learn Maori, watch a cultural performance or just wander around at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. This is where the founding document of New Zealand was signed between the Maori Chiefs and the British Crown in 1840. The grounds include the Treaty House, a fully carved Maori Meeting House, one of the largest Maori War Canoes in the world, a Visitor Centre and Gallery.
Coastal walk from Opua to Paihia or mangrove walk from Waitangi to Haruru Falls
Parasailing over the Bay of Islands
Kayak or paddle a traditional Maori waka on the Waitangi River
Kerikeri is known for its art & craft galleries, specialty stores, orchards & wineries
Bay of Islands:
You will need an extra day at least in the Bay of Islands to make the most of what this area has to offer
Bay of Islands to Karikari Peninsula: beaches & golf
Driving time: 1.5 hours
Driving directions: Follow State Highway 10 North. Turn right at Karikari Peninsula.
Walk the Mangonui Heritage Trail
Enjoy the stunning beaches: Matauri Bay, Coopers Beach, Cable Bay and Maitai Bay
Play golf at Kauri Cliffs or Peppers Carrington Resort
Fish & chips at the famous Mangonui Fish & Chip shop over the water
Karikari Peninsula to Ahipara: 90 mile beach
Driving time: 1 hour
Driving directions: Drive back to State Highway 10, and drive North via Awanui. Turn onto SH1 to Kaitaia, and from there to Ahipara.
Cape Reinga & 90 Mile Beach Tours
For surfies: Ahipara has one of the best left hand surf breaks in the world
Quadbiking or blokarting on 90 mile beach
Visit Ancient Kauri Kingdom in Awanui or Gumdiggers Park
Explore the white beaches on the east coast: Rarawa and Henderson
Ahipara to Hokianga: giant kauri's
Drive time: 1:45 minutes via Vehicle ferry
Driving instructions: Drive through towns Herekino, Broadwood and the Victorian village of Kohukohu to the “Narrows” car ferry which is on your left hand side about 5 minutes from Kohukohu. Car ferry departs on the hour up to 8pm daily and takes approx 15 minutes to cross. Depart ferry at Rawene and drive through town to SH12 and turn right, follow road into Opononi on the Hokianga Harbour.
Take a walk around the 2.8 million year old hidden boulder valley - Wairere Boulders
See Tane Mahuta, the largest living Kauri tree in the Waipoua forest or take a guided evening tour with Footprints Waipoua.
Cruise across the Hokianga Harbour for some serious sand tobogganing – take a picnic and make a day of it. Take a boat with Pete from the end of the Opononi Wharf.
Visit local arts/crafts and galleries in historic Kohukohu and Rawene.
Hokianga to Kai Iwi Lakes:
Driving time: 1 hour
Driving instructions: Head south on SH12.You will see the sign for the Kai Iwi Lakes which is a right hand turn.
Taharoa domain is a 538 ha recreation reserve containing three freshwater lakes known as the Kai Iwi Lakes.
Enjoy walks, swimming and kayaks are available for hire in the summer months.
Trout fishing. Each year Fish & Game release trout into the three beautiful sand based lakes. Try your hand at fly fishing, boat fishing, jigging and trolling!
Baylys Beach, enjoy lovely golden sands, dig for shellfish or go kite fishing. Quad bike hire and horse trekking also available.
Kai Iwi Lakes to Auckland:
Driving time: 2.5 hours
Driving instructions: Drive back to SH12 and follow the signs to Dargaville then on through Matakohe. Keep following SH12 which becomes SH1 at the Brynderwyns. Follow SH1 all the way to Auckland. Alternatively turn right onto SH16 at Wellsford and keep on the West Coast all the way to Auckland.
Zizania Mill, Big River Art Gallery and Wood Turners Kauri Gallery located in Dargaville
The Kauri Museum in Matakohe is gives a unique insight into the early pioneers, gumdiggers and tree fellers. Definitely worth a stop here!
For expansive views stop to climb the volcanic plug known as Tokatoka Peak just off SH12
Sheepworld – see sheep and dog shows, NZ made products and Café
Te Hana Te Ao Marama Traditional Maori Village provides a unique 17th Century insight into pre-European Maori life within a papakainga and pa (fortified village).
Waiwera Thermal Resort and Spa – rejuvenate the mind, body and spirit